I’m writing this column three days before the official launch of the Apple iPhone, so I’ve never had one in my hand. But I have to say, it looks like a fascinating piece of engineering. If the iPhone performs anything like it does on the commercials or video demos, I feel we are witnessing the start of a new era in engineering, one where software dominates the design to a much greater extent than it does today.

Actually, I’m not convinced yet that the iPhone will work nearly as well as it does in the TV ads. I don’t think anyone knows for sure which processor is being used in the iPhone, but it’s not an Intel Core Duo. So which of the low-power processors has the computing power to make the iPhone rock? We’ll have to wait for the inevitable teardown to find out for sure.

If the iPhone does work as advertised, what does that say about multimedia phone/PDA interfaces? I’ve been working with Windows Mobile 5 for several months, but now it seems antiquated compared to the iPhone’s OS X. Can it be that Apple has leapt so far ahead in the OS/browser wars in the mobile space?

I’m also wondering about the display. Will it be easy to view and work with in bright sunlight? I have found that the Motorola Q, for example, is unreadable on a bright day, even though some reviewers said that you could view the Q’s screen in direct sunlight.

As for multimedia on the iPhone, Apple calls it the best iPod yet. That’s a bold statement for a device like this. Ask anyone with a multimedia phone how the music experience compares to the iPod and I think you’ll get a thumbs down for the most part. But you have believe the iPhone will be rockin’ on this front.

Finally, the Internet experience as shown in the iPhone commercials looks awesome—no need to visit watered down mobile sites, standard ones will do.

Can all this be true? We’ll find out eventually. In the meantime, congratulations to Apple for a truly impressive and innovative design.

E-mail your comments to me at jdesposito@penton.com

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